Reading literary fiction makes for a better society

Readers of literary fiction are better placed to comprehend the complexity of social relationships and understand the mental states of others.

Researchers measured the effect of reading literary fiction on participants’ Theory of Mind (ToM) - the ability of an individual to infer mental states, including desire, belief, and emotion, in other people.

They found that those who read literary fiction performed much better in the five experiments designed to test ToM than those who had read popular fiction and non-fiction.

Experiments included the “reading the mind in the eyes” test, where participants were asked to indicate the emotion expressed by an actor in a black-and-white photograph.

Read more at The New School for Social Research